Trip Report – Railfest 2017

Last fall, I attended Steamtown National Historic Site’s annual Railfest. The highlight of the event was a night photo session that included scenes at the Sand Tower, Mattes Street Tower and the Roundhouse. I arrived in time for the night session Saturday night and then stayed over to see the event Sunday. Special events included demonstrations in the machine shop, tours of the Office and Stores Building, and of course train rides pulled by Baldwin Locomotive Works #26.

Sand Tower:

Mattes Street Tower:

Roundhouse:

Machine Shop Demonstration:

Ring of Fire:

Singing the Theme Song:

Trip Report – Williamsburg

Over New Year’s weekend I traveled to Williamsburg for what has become a nearly annual photography trip with my Dad to see the Christmas Decorations in the Colonial Area. While I did take some exterior photos in the Historic Area (when the light is as nice as it was for Friday’s post, you have to make some photos), my focus was on the historic trades.

The Weaver:

Colorful Threads in the Weaver’s Shop:

The Joiner:

Spring Pole Lathe in the Joiner Shop:

The Tinsmith:

The Shoemaker:

Trip Report – Scranton Lace

Last fall I had the opportunity to attend the last tour of Scranton Lace hosted by Abandoned America.  Sadly due to the removal of the roof drain piping, water has created several unsafe conditions in the wooden portions of the complex.  As a architect, I was sad to see such senseless and preventable damage.  As a photographer, I was happy to have had the chance to photograph it, but wished I had known about it sooner.

Scranton Lace opened as the Scranton Lace Curtain Manufacturing Company in 1890, and eventually became the largest producer of Nottingham lace in the United States. Scranton lace continued operations until 2002 when it closed mid-shift. The complex was so large that it included a ballroom, gymnasium, theater, bowling alley, and infirmary, in addition to the vast production and storage facility. My understanding is that the current owners plan to redevelop the site, hopefully they aren’t too late.

Crates:

The last of the Nottingham Looms:

Theater:

Ripples:

Ballroom:

Trip Report – 2016 & 2017 Cass Fall Photography Workshops

Yes, I am a year behind in editing.  I recently finished up the photos from the 2016 & 2017 Cass Fall Photography Workshops.  In 2016, I was on a flight back from Colorado on Saturday morning, so I missed most of Saturday, arriving just in time for the night session:

Sunday featured a photo excursion to Whittaker including scenes at Back Mountain Road Crossing:

Lower Switchback:

Gum Road Crossing:

Gum Road Crossing

In contrast to my late arrival in 2016, I made it in time for the Friday night welcome session for the first time ever in 2017. Clayton gave a great talk on seeing and on composition.

Saturday included a shoot at the Jail:

We did an outdoor flash lesson with Monica serving as our fly fisherman model:

Saturday ended with the traditional night session, this time at the water tank:

Sunday started with a session inside the company store:

And we ended the weekend with a real treat.  We were granted access to the Ice House for a photo session:

Thanks again to Walter, Clayton, Monica, Matt and Andrew for all their hard work in putting together a great weekend. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us this fall.

Trip Report – Klotz Throwing Company

Manufactured Reflections

The Klotz Throwing Company located in Western Maryland may be the last silk mill in America.  The mill once employed 300 people, taking raw silk from Japan and spinning it into thread which was shipped to New England to become textiles.  The mill closed in 1957 and has remained largely untouched since – one of those places where time truly stands still.

Herb Crawford purchased the mill in 1978 and continues to care for the factory to this day.  Unfortunately the roof is badly deteriorated so it may be a loosing battle.  Hopefully the mill will last long enough to be saved.

As I said in last Friday’s post, the Klotz Throwing Company has developed a wonderful patina and is full of wonderful photography opportunities.  I enjoyed every minute spent at the mill and am looking forward to another trip this fall.  Thanks again to Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America for arranging the tour and to Mr. Crawford for allowing us to visit.

Elevator Chair

The Great Movie Ride

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

While not a typical trip report, I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of my favorite photos from the recently closed Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World. The Great Movie Ride opened with Disney-MGM Studios on May 1, 1989 and was an incredibly detailed attraction that took you into the movies.

As the name suggested, each attraction scene featured animatronics of movie stars in their most famous roles. The Imagineers went to great lengths to make sure every detail was perfect from filling the scenes with props to dressing the animatronics in clothes actually worn by the star(s) represented in the scene.  Photographically, I think the level of detail is what made The Great Movie Ride so much fun to shoot.

Trip Report – Locust Heights & Western

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I recently attended a photo charter on the Locust Heights & Western Railroad in Clarksburg, WV.  The LH&W RR is a “backyard” railroad built by the late Keith Mason along with his family and friends.  Today the Mason Family and their dedicated team of volunteers keep Mr. Mason’s passion for railroading alive, operating most Wednesday evenings from June through October.

The LH&W RR has been on my photography “to do” list for several years, so I jumped at the opportunity to attend a photo charter, especially with the proceeds going toward the cost of recently completed boiler repairs.  Charter organizers, Matt Wilson and Walter Scriptunas, put on a great combination of daytime runbys and a night photo session.  The Mason Family and Railroad Volunteers even dressed the part, allowing the charter participants to make some timeless images.

The Flats:

First Crossing:

Lumberjacks:

The Woods:

Feeding the Fire:

Late night in the Yard:

Night Session Outtake:

Thanks again, to Matt, Walter, The Mason Family and the dedicated team of volunteers that keep this wonderful place running!  I had a great time and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Trip Report – Colorado Fall Color 2016 Part 3

Continuing on from Part 2, the next stop was Maroon Bells for sunrise. Located in the Snowmass Wilderness, this is a very popular sunrise photo location. Unfortunately a storm was blowing through so I didn’t get the alpine glow sunrise that you typically see here. Instead I got a nice pre-dawn shot (above) with some stars visible between the clouds and a late morning shot when the sun came out and the wind stopped just long enough to get a decent reflection in the lake.
From there I traveled south over Independence Pass, stopping at a couple of spots to take photos of the spectacular landscape before heading to Great Sand Dunes National Park.

The Ghost Town of Independence:

Roaring Fork River:

Snow Squall:

Twin Lakes:

I arrived at Great Sand Dunes in a windstorm, so I didn’t spend much time on the dune field.  Clouds over the park with clear skies to the west provided some nice storm light on the Dunes.

Dune field from the Entrance Road:

Dunes from the Entrance Road

High Dune Hikers:

Dunefield Storm Light:

Look for Part 4 covering the two railroad photo charters this trip was centered around in a couple of weeks.

Trip Report – The East Broad Top 2017

The East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company, located in Rockhill Furnace, PA is a place where time stands still.  The railroad, touted as one of the oldest and best preserved railroads, operated from 1871 until it closed in 1956.  The EBT was then purchased by a salvage company who eventually decided to operate a portion of the railroad as a tourist line starting in 1961. While operations ceased in 2011, the Friends of The East Broad Top have continued to lovingly restore the structures that make up the Rockhill Yard and Shop Complex.

When visiting it’s not hard to feel like you have traveled back in time a half century or more. So, when my friend and fellow photographer, Matthew Malkiewicz announced that he had secured access for a small group of photographers to visit this past January, I jumped at the chance to participate.

I arrived shortly after sunrise, hoping to get some shots around the yard in early morning sunlight. Unfortunately it was cloudy, but it had been several years since I had been there so found things to shoot despite the less than optimal lighting.

Moss Covered Coal Hoppers:

Moss Covered Wheels:

Wheels

A Pair of Switch Stands – notice the glove, most likely left by the last person who threw the switch, waiting to be picked up again, just like the line waits for operations to re-start:

The Three Way Switch – a very rare occurrence on railroads.  There are only two others that I’m aware of.

Once the rest of the group arrived we headed into the Roundhouse for two hours before breaking for lunch.

Locomotives Waiting:

Journal Oil Can:

Oil Can and Cobwebs:

Oil Can

After Lunch we moved into the shops complex for a couple of hours.

The Blacksmith Shop – Not many people have been in this building.  The columns rotted over the years resulting in a severe tilt to the building that was repaired in the last few years.

Blacksmith Shop

The Foundry:

Crucible

The Machine Shop was full of scenes, large and small:

Zanol Cocoa – Quality First:

Quality Cocoa

Light:

Boiler Shop:

You could spend days in a place like this and never run out of things to photograph. I hope to get to spend more time at the East Broad Top in the future.

Trip Report – Colorado Fall Color 2016 Part 2

Devil's Lookout

Continuing where we left off in Part 1 of the trip report, after leaving Mesa Verde National Park, I drove North to Montrose Colorado to be in position for sunrise at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison became a National Park on October 21, 1999, encompasing 30,750 acres and is known for its incredibly steep cliffs and narrow canyon.  At its narrowest point, Chasm View, the canyon is 1,100ft wide at the rim, 40ft wide at the river and 1,820ft deep!  This unique steepness and narrowness is caused by the steep route the Gunnison River takes through the canyon.  It averages 34ft of drop per mile which causes the river to cut deeper into the canyon faster than the walls can erode and widen the canyon.

Island Peaks:
Island Peaks

Pulpit Rock:
Pulpit Rock

Chasm View:

Chasm View

The canyon is difficult to photograph during the day due to the huge contrast between the shadows and the sunny side of the canyon. I think this park may be best captured in the pre-dawn and post sunset light.  A second trip to better capture this park is definitely in order.

Part 3 of the trip report will cover Maroon Bells and Great Sand Dunes National Park.